Earlier this month, during the Libertarian Party’s national convention, a Secular Caucus was formed, led by New Hampshire State Rep. Brandon Phinney — one of only a handful of openly non-theistic state officials in the country.
The Secular Coalition for America helped launched the caucus, after doing something similar in 2016 and 2018 at the Texas Democratic Convention, and celebrated its formation:
“We would like to applaud the Libertarian Party for being the first political party in U.S. history to establish a Secular Caucus at its national convention,” said Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. “This caucus is a milestone in our push to be recognized as a constituency with our own unique set of interests, issues, and secular values. The nonreligious are a rapidly growing demographic that make up an increasingly large share of every political party. It is our hope that the Democratic, Republican, and Green parties will take notice and follow in the Libertarian Party’s footsteps. Nonreligious voters of every political affiliation deserve to have their values respected and their voices heard.”
Phinney told me he began this group because “as someone who is openly atheist, I wanted to give Libertarian Party members a place to discuss secular values and how to take the LP platform, apply it to public policy solutions all while defending the separation of church and state.”
He’s not just all talk here. In early 2017, Phinney was a Republican frustrated with the lack of transparency in his state party as well as the direction the party overall had been heading. So while still in office, he switched party affiliations. (Will that affect him in his first re-election bid this November? We’ll see.)
Phinney noted that his Libertarian party’s Secular Caucus would be “open to atheists, agnostics, humanists and even those who hold religious belief but acknowledge that religion and government should be separate.” As with any caucus, the goal will be to shape the direction of the party moving forward.
I know everyone has strong opinions about third parties — certainly any Democrat who paid attention to politics in 2000 and 2016 — but there are no doubt a lot of atheists who say the Libertarian Party best represents their values. For anyone interested in learning more, there’s a Facebook group here.